For those of us who have come to more or less ignore Gold Glove awards as a meaningful way to measure defensive excellence, the fifth annual Fielding Bible Awards were announced today.
Voted on by a 10-person panel that includes Bill James, Peter Gammons, Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer, and John Dewan as well as the entire video scouting team at Baseball Info Solutions, the award sets out to recognize the best defensive player at each position, regardless of league.
Here are the 2010 winners:
C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B – Daric Barton, A’s
2B – Chase Utley, Phillies
SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
3B – Evan Longoria, Rays
LF – Brett Gardner, Yankees
CF – Michael Bourn, Astros
RF – Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
P – Mark Buehrle, White Sox
I might choose differently at two or three spots, but those guys are all legitimately elite defenders at their position and unfortunately that can’t always be said about the Gold Glove winners. I’d be surprised if more than five of the Fielding Bible Award recipients also won a Gold Glove despite the latter being given to one representative for each league.
Molina is the first unanimous selection in the five-year history of the Fielding Bible Awards, and he joins Suzuki, Buehrle, and Tulowitzki as repeat winners.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.